The September 2020 UN Guidance Note on Protecting and Promoting Civic Space clarifies that open civic space guarantees the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, the right to participation and safety of dissenting voices. It is therefore this space where individuals and groups contribute in one way or another to impact the development and implementation of policies that affect their lives by expressing themselves freely alone or by mobilizing with others. others to express a dissenting point of view, or to access information or to initiate a dialogue. Thus defined, the enjoyment of civic space calls for the effective enjoyment of the rights recognized by international human rights instruments to which our States are parties, in particular the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

Article 8 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Guidelines on Freedom of Association and meeting in Africa). The fight against terrorism in West Africa and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic have led several States to adopt measures, the implementation and interpretation of which constitute the bone of contention with the populations and defenders of human rights. the man. This situation derives from the fact that the texts in question are the subject of interpretations which come into conflict with the human rights commitments of States.

RFLD responds to these trends by tracking civic space, engaging with regional and international mechanisms such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Universal Periodic Review process of the Human Rights Council United Nations man to call on States to be accountable for their civic engagement.

The RFLD encourages States to:

  • Take steps to introduce the human rights-based approach into the training curricula of all law enforcement officers;
  • Set up a national unit for periodic monitoring and analysis of the human rights situation. The latter should be made up of civil society, the Commission on Human Rights, representatives of ministries and some diplomatic representations posted in the territory to have technical opinions on human rights violations in the territory. and the solutions to be provided to avoid non-repetition;
  • Allow human rights defenders to always have the possibility to file domestic remedies against human rights violations, to file complaints before the ACHPR;

RFLD's strategy is aligned with contributing to “capacity building through litigation, justice and greater respect for human rights”. Interventions focus on defending basic civic freedoms of association, assembly and expression, especially when they are under threat. We do this by providing activists and organizations targeted for their activism or operating in oppressive contexts with urgent and sustained support.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have played a vital role in the development and formation of the AU human rights system. Despite these early contributions, the space for civil society to operate is threatened by various political and political decisions aimed at restricting, shrinking and undermining the ability of citizens to assert their rights against the state. States parties have relinquished their role to implement and domesticate the various provisions of human rights treaties. Vulnerable and marginalized groups continue to have little access to the protection of the law, despite the existence of regional instruments enshrining fundamental rights. Women, refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to face structural, administrative and legal barriers to the full enjoyment of their rights. Institutions tasked with protecting these rights at the sub-regional level are also constrained by lack of coordination and restrictive provisions for individual access, among other inhibiting factors.

Through these initiatives, RFLD provides opportunities to increase the role that CSOs play in the promotion and protection of human rights, including the growing interest of CSOs in regional human rights mechanisms and how they can be used effectively. These mechanisms, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Commission) and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), are open to the participation of the civil society. However, RFLD is working with civil society to significantly enhance their participation to ensure that these mechanisms have greater impact at regional, sub-regional, national and local levels.

The Network of Women Leaders for Development through its actions seeks to interact with African governments to integrate international human rights standards into their decision-making in policy development.

Relying on advocacy as a mode of demand and submitting equitable legal interventions to minimize the negative impacts that laws resulting from the excessive politicization of the judiciary have had on human rights and the state of law.